States go after pharma for deceptive marketing

Since we’ve been on a medical marketing kick this week, let’s catch up to what The Wall Street Journal reported last week:

“Authorities in some U.S. states have become more aggressive in accusing drug makers of deceptive marketing, widening the potential liability for an industry that has shelled out billions of dollars to settle investigations led by the federal government.

…some states have chosen to go it alone, a strategy that has resulted in hefty single-state awards and settlements in recent years.

“More states feel empowered to bring these kinds of actions solo,” said David Hart, an assistant attorney in charge of the financial fraud and consumer-protection section of the Oregon Justice Department.”


A Closer Look at the Cases

States that have filed lawsuits against drug makers include:

State Companies Drugs Lawsuit Details
Arkansas Johnson & Johnson Risperdal J&J is appealing a judge’s $1.2 billion penalty assessed in 2012 after a jury found the company violated state laws in its marketing of Risperdal.  The appeal is pending in the Arkansas Supreme Court.
Kentucky GlaxoSmithKline Avandia Kentucky’s attorney general sued Glaxo in February, alleging that the company misrepresented the safety of diabetes-drug Avandia. The lawsuit is pending.
Louisiana Johnson & Johnson Risperdal A lawsuit with allegations similar to the Arkansas case resulted in a $258 judgment against J&J in 2010. The judgment was upheld by one appellate court and is pending before the Louisiana Supreme Court.
Maryland GlaxoSmithKline Avandia Maryland’s attorney general sued Glaxo in February in state court, making allegations similar to the Kentucky case. The lawsuit is pending.
Mississippi Sanofi, Bristol-Myers Plavix Mississippi’s attorney general sued Sanofi and Bristol-Myers last year, claiming they falsely promoted Plavix as being superior to aspirin and didn’t properly disclose that the drug doesn’t work as well in some people. The lawsuit was moved to federal court.
South Carolina Johnson & Johnson, Teva Risperdal (J&J); Provigil, Actiq, Gabitril (Teva) J&J is appealing a $327 million penalty awarded by a state judge in 2011 in a Risperdal lawsuit. The case is pending at the South Carolina Supreme Court. The state attorney general also sued Teva’s Cephalon unit in 2011, alleging it promoted drugs for unauthorized uses. Teva filed a counterclaim seeking to dismiss the lawsuit.  The claims are pending.
Utah GlaxoSmithKline Avandia The state sued Glaxo in 2010, making allegations similar to those of other states.
West Virginia Sanofi, Bristol-Myers Plavix The attorney general sued companies in December, making allegations similar to the Mississippi case. The lawsuit was removed to federal court, where it is pending.


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